DEAR DR. FOX: My 7-year-old mini poodle chews all the fur off his inner thighs, lower legs and feet. I have him on Cytopoint and Apoquel. I’m spending lots of money and not getting very far.
My opinion is that my energetic dog, who has won many AKC agility and obedience titles in past years, is bored and needs to run a much greater part of his day. I’m 82 years old and now live in a retirement community with no running area for him; I can’t give him the exercise and workouts we were doing just three years ago. His 15-minute daily walks with a paid dog-walker don’t tire him out at all. His temperament and energy remind me of the border collies I know.
Do you think I’m right, or is this just another unidentified food allergy? He didn’t have this problem when we were training and competing in obedience and agility events three years ago. Can’t do it now. -- J.B., West Palm Beach, Florida
DEAR J.B.: Dogs and cats will sometimes lick, scratch and fur-pull to the point of self-mutilation when they are frustrated or bored. Your theory may be correct. As an alternative, your dog may have a condition called trichotillomania, which is a compulsion to pull out one’s hair or fur. Our rescued cat Fanny pulls her fur out while she waits beside the door for her beloved Kota (our dog) to return from a walk.
In many instances, however, there is an underlying skin infection, parasite, thyroid gland dysfunction or allergy at play. Allergens can include food ingredients, grass or other environmental triggers (think dust mites in carpet). Keep your dog off the grass when being walked and have the dog-walker put a light coat on him.
Wean him off the Apoquel and Cytopoint and give him a teaspoon of local bee pollen in his food daily, plus a few drops of cod liver oil. Get some dog toys and encourage him to play interactive games with you indoors, and get some treat-containing puzzles he can solve, as well.
DEAR DR. FOX: I don’t eat seafood and my cat hates fish. Even so, I am concerned about many aspects of ocean pollution and ecology. Microplastics are now being found in human blood, and there are tons of plastics and other chemicals in the oceans. I see kelp being marketed in health care products and snacks for humans and pets, but then read about kelp containing arsenic. What about krill oil? That is marketed as an omega-3 super-supplement, but I thought whales depended on krill as a vital food source for their survival. -- R.E., Washington, D.C.
DEAR R.E.: First, all things in moderation. Never overdo any supplement, vitamin, mineral, herb or whatever. Kelp can contain small amounts of organic and inorganic arsenic, which is not likely sufficient to cause poisoning when small quantities of kelp are consumed. Ideally it should be farmed rather than wild-harvested, since the kelp forests of the oceans provide food and shelter for countless marine creatures. The overharvesting of seaweeds for human and livestock consumption is crippling this major carbon sink and life-sustaining ocean community of plants and algae.
Similarly, the harvesting of krill for cheap livestock and poultry feed, and the sale of krill oil to consumers and pet owners, must be curtailed. The great whales and other marine life, including birds, are starving to death as a consequence of overfishing, especially from the overharvesting of krill.
FRENCH COURT ORDERS 4G ANTENNA SWITCH-OFF
A French court found in favor of a farmer who said that a newly installed 4G antenna near his property was harming his cows. He said that milk production had dropped by 15%-20% in the days following the installation, and that 40 of his 200 cows had died. The antenna is to be shut off for two months while solutions are researched. (Full story: Connexion France, May 25)
The telecommunications industry is neither well- regulated by governments worldwide nor open to reducing its documented risks to humans and other animals. For more details, see drfoxonehealth.com/post/electropollution-existential-threat-to-public-health-and-life-on-earth.
UKRAININAN COUPLE RESCUES DOZENS OF ANIMALS
Veterinary student Anastasiya Tykha and her husband, Arthur Lee, led or carried two dozen animals -- 19 dogs, five cats, two Triton lizards, one hamster, one turtle, one chameleon and one axolotl -- 2 miles through Irpin, Ukraine, and across a bridge to relative safety. It took Tykha and Lee several trips, braving bombs and bullets each time, to evacuate the animals from a shelter Tykha has run for four years. “There were explosions and shooting, but after two weeks of Russian occupation, we were used to it,” Lee said. (Full story: The Guardian, May 23)
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
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